10 Steps to Filing a Car Insurance Bodily Injury Claim

Have you been injured in a car accident that wasn’t entirely your fault? Then you may need to file a bodily injury claim against the responsible party. To a car insurance bodily injury claim, being injured means having sought medical treatment or that you have told an insurance adjuster that you will seek medical treatment, for an injury caused by the accident. Filing a successful bodily injury claim can be tricky, as insurance companies are looking for any loop-hole to deny your claim. But there are steps you can follow to ensure that your car insurance bodily injury claim is filed properly and successfully

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 1: Go to the Emergency Room

The first thing you should do when involved in a car accident is go to the emergency room. Going to the E.R. will let doctors see if you are badly injured. This may also uncover injuries you did not know you had, due to an adrenaline rush. You are also reserving your right to make a bodily injury claim. If you are checked out at the scene of the accident and do not go to the E.R., a bodily injury claim will be hard to make. Going to the emergency room is the first piece of documentation you will need to file a car insurance bodily injury claim. While you are in the E.R., do not down-play your symptoms. If you tell a medical personnel that you are okay, it may get documented, even if you are not. Be sure to describe all your symptoms, do not worry about sounding like a whiner. The hospital staff will be able to fairly assess your injuries, as long as you are honest.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 2: Work Release

Do not leave the emergency room without a work release. It may take a day or two for all the aches and pains of the accident to affect you. You will need the work release to show your employer that you were injured. You will have a harder time obtaining a work release if you wait a day or so after the accident. Do not be afraid to ask the doctor for one, if they don’t offer. E.R. doctor’s are often rushed and may not think of it. A work release is also another form of documentation for your bodily injury claim. The insurance adjuster will not overlook your lack of work release.

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Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 3: See a General Practitioner

The next step in filing a car insurance bodily injury claim is to follow up with your general practitioner. Do this within a day or two of your accident. Following up with your doctor will add more weight to your bodily injury claim. Remember, everything you tell your doctor and their staff will go down in the charts, for the insurance adjuster to see. Now is not a good time to put on a socially acceptable, brave face. If you say you are feeling a lot better, then the insurance adjuster will argue that you are not entitled to any suffering payment after that date. So be honest with your doctor and their staff about how much pain you are in. This doctor’s visit is also when you should ask for any referrals, such as to the physical therapist or chiropractor. Keep copies of any referrals and records of the visit to help with documentation of your bodily injury claim.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 4: See Referred Doctor

Seeing the referral doctor is another documentation for your car insurance bodily injury claim. Here they will ask you how you feel. Just like at your family doctor’s, be honest. Any minimizing of your injury will be charted and will hurt your bodily injury claim. You may be asked if any other factors in your life are affecting your injuries. This question can kill soft tissue bodily injury claims. Be very careful what you put here. If you claim to be able to do an activity and then have trouble after that activity, the insurance adjuster is going to say you were fine and hurt yourself again. Even if you claim stress (unrelated to the injury), they can say that this exacerbated the injury. Insurance companies do not owe you for any exacerbation of your pain. Don’t hurt your bodily injury claim by misconstruing your own documentation.

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Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 5: Medical Authorization Form

Carefully read the medical authorization form that is sent to you by the insurance company. They may try to send a blanket form, which gives them the right to look at your entire medical history. They are looking for any information that can be twisted into a denial of your car insurance bodily injury claim. Unless you are okay with this, type a letter telling them what records they are allowed to look at. This letter should state that the insurance company is authorized to receive medical records and bills specifically relating to (insert exact injury), that pertain to the (insert exact date) car accident that occurred at (insert exact location of accident). Do not let the insurance company force you into signing a blanket medical release. You do not have to. If they press the issue, tell them to resend you one that pertains to the date of the accident. You are required by law to show them what you want them to pay for, nothing more.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 6: Stick to Your Care Plan

When dealing with a car insurance bodily injury claim, it is important to stick to the care plan your health providers set for you. You want the documentation to show that you are actively participating in your recovery and not making your injury worse, through neglect. Insurance adjusters will not reward you for saving them a doctor’s bill. They will simply say that if you were as hurt as you claimed, you would have gone to the doctor. Remember, doctor’s visits are extra documentation of your bodily injury claim.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 7: No Gaps in Treatment
Gaps in treatment should be no more than one or two weeks. Insurance adjusters will point to weeks without treatment as signs that you are better. Any long time periods between treatment lower the value of your bodily injury claim settlement.

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Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 8: Keep a Diary

It can be beneficial to your car insurance bodily injury claim to keep a diary on how your injuries are affecting your every day life. Be sure to include any activities you are unable to do, your feelings about these and any doctor’s appointment you went to. Also, log what medication you are taking for your injuries and any progress you have made.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 9: Understand State Laws

Be sure to look up your state’s laws and regulations regarding car insurance bodily injury claims, before speaking to an insurance adjuster. Some states have minimum treatment expense laws. A minimum treatment expense is an amount your medical bills must surpass, before you are entitled to any pain and suffering claims.

Filing a Bodily Injury Claim Step 10: The First Offer

Think long and hard before you settle your bodily injury claim. You want to make sure the amount you are settling for is fair. Speak with an attorney, if you are not sure. Do not be afraid to counter their offer with a high amount. A good general rule is to never settle your bodily injury claim on the first offer, especially if it is the day of the accident.

Filing a car insurance bodily injury claim can be complicated. It is vital to your bodily injury claim that your injuries are being documented correctly. If you are unsure at any point in the process, do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney.